Drone Industry and the Growth in Film Tourism

The UK’s drone industry is not alone when it comes to fast growth.  Film and TV production in the UK is also experiencing a meteoric rise, reaching the highest levels ever recorded.

Film Tourism shot by drone

The film industry in the UK is supported by a competitive tax credit regime and by a rising demand for high quality content form both traditional channels as well as the newer pay to view channels.  The popularity of Netflix and Amazon video (among other streaming services) means that the public’s appetite for new movies and TV dramas is almost unquenchable.

Creative England are an organisation that Drone Safe Register have been working with to assist them in meeting the growing need for drone footage as part of these productions and we recently attending their Filming in England summit as expert speakers (link to blog post)

They work to promote filming locations in the UK and liaise with councils to allow them to leverage this increasingly valuable income stream.  They are, very often, the first port of call when productions are looking to film in the UK outside of London with the Production Services Department offering free comprehensive support to film and high-end TV productions.

Councils can look to receive income form areas such as those below although of course there are costs associated with these that must be covered from that revenue.

  • Location hire

  • Loss of business

  • ‘Unit Base’ space

  • Parking suspension

  • Road closures

  • Traffic management

  • Preparing / reinstating locations

  • Copyright licensing

  • Supervision and advice

  • Administration costs

Creative England Filming Summit
Film summit with Creative England

However, one areas that Creative England are keen to promote is that of film tourism.

The latest available statistics date back to 2014 but even these show an estimated value of £120-140 milllion for screen tourism outside of London. It’s fair to assume that these values have increased exponentially to the current time.

The use of drones in filming and live broadcasting has become increasingly common and, as well as providing a bird’s eye view of the drama, aerial footage can also offer beautiful imagery of an area or building.  Leaving aside the dramatic effects of setting the action in its wider environment, these shots can be amongst the most powerful when it comes to generating film tourist interest. Setting the scene or ‘general view’ by drone in the opening shots is now common place, it is a simple and cost effective way to establish a story’s location.

So, it is within the councils’ interests to allow aerial filming as part of these productions when it is requested.  Unfortunately, some councils still seem to suffer from a lack of information about UAVs and the requirements for safe and legal drone operation.  In some areas, this has led to a blanket ban on drone activity which is a loss both to a location’s filming potential and also to a council’s bottom line.

Drone Safe Register offer the UK and Ireland’s the largest member network of qualified and legal drone pilots, many with extensive television and film industry experience.  We are proud to be working with a number of local councils to create comprehensive drone policies that allow them to reach their full filming potential.  We also look forward to speaking at future Creative England events to help to demystify drones and provide simple and practical advice for their safe deployment within a creative environment.

Film tourism

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About the Author: DSR Journalist

Harrison Green

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